Monday, December 28, 2009

Quick & Easy - Broccoli Cheesy Soup

Broccoli & Cheese soup is one of my favorite comfort foods yet I think it is hard to find yourself a good bowl of it. Canned cream of broccoli soup is simply out of the question (if you've ever tried it, you know what I'm talking about) and there are only a couple of restaurants where I will order it off the menu. Basically, I have found that if you want good broccoli & cheese soup you have to make it yourself. I experimented tonight using frozen broccoli since I had a terrible worm incident with fresh broccoli that I can't discuss for fear that my readers will no longer be able to eat fresh broccoli! Instead, I used the "steamable" vegetable bags you can now find in the frozen section at the grocery store. I love them!! You pop them in the microwave and voila - in 5 minutes you have perfectly steamed veggies without having to wash a pan! Try them in this speedy soup recipe that tastes as if it had been slow-cooked all day.
Broccoli & Cheese Soup
3 Tbls. butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced (optional)
1 14 oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. milk
3-4 Tbls. flour
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. basil
1 1/2 c. heavy cream or half & half
1-2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 12 oz. bag "steamable" frozen broccoli
In sauce pan, saute onion & carrot in butter over med-low heat until tender (approx. 5 minutes). Add chicken broth and bring to a low boil for 5 minutes. In a small bowl whip flour and milk until smooth. Gradually stir flour mixture into boiling broth. Add seasonings and simmer again for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in cream and cheese until melted. Meanwhile, microwave broccoli according to the directions. Add cooked broccoli to soup. You may have to adjust milk/cream amounts to reach your desired consistency. Serve with additional shredded cheese on top.
I use a kitchen shears to cut broccoli into smaller chunks since I prefer small pieces in my soup.
I think block cheese that is shredded at home works better than cheese that is already shredded in a bag.

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